3/25/2007

Shooter

Based on the Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact, Shooter is about a retired marine sniper, Bob Lee Swagger, who quit after his spotter was gunned down when the two of them were left for dead, deemed expendable, by their superiors.

Swagger is pulled back into the world when contacted by some shadowy government suits who want his help in planning a presidential assassination. Apparently, there's someone out there who has put a hit out on the president, and these fellas need Swagger's help to figure out how the assassin plans to pull it off.

Things, of course, go wrong.

Before he knows what's what, Swagger finds himself on the run, accused of attempting to murder the president, with no one to turn to except the widow of his spotter and a rookie FBI agent. Together, they race to clear Swagger's name and unravel the conspiracy surrounding those aforementioned shadowy government suits.

Shooter was directed by Antoine Fuqua, the man behind one of my favorite films, Training Day. Fuqua executes this film was impressive precision. It's tension-filled, with the requisite twists and turns, and a generous helping of explodo.

The cynic in me enjoyed the conspiracy theory aspect of the plot, which I think was handled in a relatively realistic manner. And who doesn't love it when bad guys go boom? Shooter is definitely a fun ride, akin to the shoot-'em-ups of, say, the 1980s and early '90s, but with a denser plot and more layered and intriguing characters. Some of them, anyway.

Point of Impact was the first in a series of Swagger books, and there's a fourth on its way later this year. I wonder, depending on Shooter's box office, if they're planning on turning this into a franchise for Mark Wahlberg, who handled himself quite nicely. The former Marky Mark has really turned himself into a fine actor, capable of holding his own whether it's action or drama. Looking at his IMDb page, he's been in a lot of my favorite films, from The Basketball Diaries to Three Kings to The Departed. It's getting to the point where I'm really looking forward to whatever he does next.

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